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Other view: PolyMet ‘just popped out’ for DFL release?

It all seemed to be a rather innocuous, pretty typical, inside-baseball political news release.

DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin strongly criticized the running mate of one of four Republican gubernatorial candidates for missing a deadline for filing her financial disclosure.

State Sen. Karin Housley, who is the lieutenant governor candidate pick of Scott Honour, who is seeking the Republican nomination in the Aug. 12 primary, said her failure to file was an honest mistake and she had nothing to hide. In fact, the filing she made after the deadline was the same as the last one she had done as required as a state senator.

So she was clearly wrong in not filing on time. And Martin did the political-party/partisan thing that also would have been done by his Republican counterpart if the late filer had been, say, Gov. Mark Dayton.

But what’s really interesting and also quite telling about the release was not the usual DFL-GOP banter. It was the mention of PolyMet as an investment held by Housley — all $300 of an investment.

Yep, that was the lone investment of Housley’s singled out in Martin’s news release based on her state Senate financial disclosure. No other investment or investments. Just one: PolyMet, the copper/nickel/precious metals project near Hoyt Lakes that is in a far-too-long environmental review.

PolyMet has produced a supplemental draft environmental impact statement that has received favorable comments from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources commissioner and the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Yet today it remains in an unnecessarily drawn-out comment-review stage.

All that’s at stake are 360 permanent jobs, several hundred more spin-off positions and more than 2 million hours of construction work. And that would mean good-paying jobs for men and women and their families and communities on the Iron Range where the unemployment rate is considerably higher than what people in other regions of the state are experiencing.

But hey, let’s zero in on a $300 investment in PolyMet by a running mate of one of four possible GOP gubernatorial candidates.

“This has nothing to do with PolyMet,” Martin said in a telephone interview with the Mesabi Daily News for a July 13 story.

It’s all about a candidate’s transparency, he stressed.

That, of course, leap-frogged the question as to why PolyMet was targeted in the news release.

Martin said PolyMet “just popped out” from Housley’s Senate financial statement to DFL Party researchers in advance of Martin’s news release on the issue. But, of course, no other investment of Housley’s “just popped out.”

Activists in the DFL Party are profoundly anti-copper/nickel/precious metals mining, with many of them just plain against any form of mining. They love their computers and cellphones and green-

energy windmills and catalytic converters and, if in need, hip and knee replacements. But don’t you dare safely extract the minerals needed for all those products on Minnesota’s Iron Range and create much-needed jobs in Northeastern Minnesota. No, let those metals be mined in countries that either don’t have sufficient environmental standards or just don’t enforce them.

So people on the Iron Range who are supportive of non-ferrous mining — which represents a strong and growing majority of residents of the region — are supposed to believe a $300 PolyMet investment of Housley’s “just popped out” to DFL party researchers out of her entire portfolio.

No. Doesn’t pass the smell test.

Mesabi Daily News